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Visionary Entrepreneur Helps Canada's Northern Youth Catch Career Dreams, Donates DreamCatcher Mentoring to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada

DreamCatcher Mentoring Students More Likely to Stay in School and Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada will carry-on legacy, expand program

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 07/02/14 --

Editors Note: There are videos associated with this press release.

Today Josh Silvertown, medtech entrepreneur has announced his intention to gift the award-winning DreamCatcher Mentoring (DCM) program to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC). The not-for-profit online mentoring program for high school students in Canada's North was founded by Silvertown and Beverly Sembsmoen, a Daklaweidi of Carcross/Tagish First Nation, in 2005 as a response to the increasing high school drop-out rates. Using DCM's proprietary online e-mentoring platform, students are connected with Canadian mentors from around the world working in the students' dream career. It's the first program of its kind and its research shows a trend that students who participate in the DCM program are more likely to stay in school and graduate than those that don't. In the past decade, DCM has enabled more than 1,500 high school students representing 29 schools in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut to have a one-on-one e-mentoring match with a professional who they would otherwise never have access to. It is also a unique model for how to build, grow and ensure long term existence of a not-for-profit program.

"DreamCatcher Mentoring helps overcome challenges of geography and access to help students in Canada's North realize the benefits of staying in school - it's been a labour of love since we started a decade ago," says Josh Silvertown, Founder and Executive Director. "We are thrilled that the legacy will continue and expand under the leadership of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada - the experts in mentoring. We are proud of the impact DreamCatcher Mentoring has made and of the unique model that we innovated for it. This model protects the initial investment of time, effort and funding; reduces competition between similar organizations and delivers better value to Canadian tax payers and communities."

DCM is an organically grown organization, run from the side of a desk that has raised half a million dollars, built a brand, established partnerships, delivered real outcomes and has won awards and praise from Canadian experts in the field. It's the first program of its kind with a unique strategy to bridge the education, cultural, communication and geographic gaps in Canada. DCM identified a need, innovated an approach to address that need, developed it to a level where it has some traction and positive outcomes, and now is donating it to an organization with similar values and the infrastructure needed to grow and reach more people.

"Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada shares the values of DreamCatcher Mentoring and the common mandate of providing quality mentors to children and youth," says Bruce MacDonald, President & CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada. "We have a long history with Josh who has been a volunteer with our organization as a Big Brother and has been a local agency board member. Recently, we partnered with DCM to bring mentoring services to more children in the North and discovered great synergies and a natural fit. We are delighted with this very generous gift which not only expands our services in Canada's North, but is also an effective e-mentoring platform. We will use our national network to continue DCM's work, grow the program and serve more youth."

Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada Acquires DreamCatcher Mentoring

DCM is endorsed by the Yukon Department of Education, The Government of the Northwest Territories and the Iqaluit District Education Authority, implemented in partnership with Carcross/Tagish First Nation, and has been federally-funded by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Canadian Heritage. The DCM program has been designed to be integrated into classrooms by fulfilling prescribed learning objectives (PLOs) in the career development and planning component of the curriculum. DCM mentors are Canadian professionals who volunteer as little as 30 - 45 minutes per week to help students identify goals and develop plans for achieving them.

DCM is available to high school students who have an interest in receiving career mentoring. Mentors and teachers receive training to ensure success, safety and quality in the delivery of the program which is done through the secure online e-mentoring platform. Mentors represent a wide range of careers including: Navy officer, entrepreneur, teacher, doctor, photographer, police office, veterinarian, athlete, video game designer, retail associate, forensic scientist, paramedic and mechanical engineer.

DCM students see the value mentoring brings. "I liked how my mentor helped me understand myself. I appreciated that she was willing to answer all of the questions that I had about my career. I especially liked how my mentor inspired me to learn more and carry out my dreams. I thought this program was so cool," said one participant.

DCM's goal is to increase high school graduation rates in the North and create a more educated community that is prepared for the labour market, with greater productive potential driving overall capacity and development.

About DreamCatcher Mentoring

DreamCatcher Mentoring was established in 2005 as a response to increasing high school drop-out rates in Canada's Northern communities which are persistently higher than those of the provinces. More than 1,500 students representing 29 schools have participated. The latest DCM data shows that 94 per cent of students in the program have graduated or are still in school. Recent studies by York University suggest that DCM is having a positive impact and making a difference in students' lives. DCM believes that empowering youth and providing high quality, self-directed mentorship gives students the confidence, leadership and needed to create attainable goals, complete their education and work towards their dreams and aspirations. Visit www.dreamcatchermentoring.ca to learn more or get involved.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada

BBBSC provides quality-mentoring services for more than 42,000 children and teenagers. The community-based youth mentoring organization currently has over 25,000 volunteer mentors working at 117 agencies that serve children in over 1,000 communities across the country. Learn more. Visit www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca.

To view the videos associated with this press release, please visit the following links:

100 Years of Mentoring: Big Brothers Big Sisters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zrznt51qc8

The Impact of Mentoring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf5Mdetu-1U

DreamCatcher Mentoring: http://www.dreamcatchermentoring.ca/multimedia.php

Contacts:
Tara McCarthy
Neat Marketing Communications
tara@neatmarketingcommunications.com
416.732.1929

Leslie Booth
Xposure PR
leslie@xposurepr.com
905.339.2209 ext. 6

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